There was a damp and dark tunnel littered with checkpoints made of sealed heavy doors and two Radiant Stage experts standing guard at each one of them.
Their moods were heavy as their eyes narrowed.
A guard holding a set of keys approached. With a flash of a badge, the gate opened.
The badge read Emperor’s Approval.
Gate after gate, the guard had to pass through 18 of them to reach the end.
It was a small dark room with a pint-sized figure resting on a simple bed, chewing lazily on something.
“What does the old coot want this time?” Taking another bite, a tender voice came, filled with disdain, “You come to me for help yet lock me up in this hellhole whenever you’re done with me. For three hundred years I’ve kept my word, the only saving grace you have from my rage! And these things, I have never eaten worse garbage in three hundred years! Aren’t I a Divine Dragon?”
He threw away the thing at the guard.
With a bang, it flashed past the guard’s face, wind biting his face. It made a meter-deep hole in the wall behind him and even shook the whole place, yet the thing was still intact.
The guard was scared out of his mind.
This place was made of a 7th grade material, Crystallized Black Tungsten, turning it into a fortress. But to this guy, it was like paper.
A casual flick and the place got ventilation.
The guard made a shaky bow, “Sir Gu Santong, please calm down. I am only conveying the emperor’s orders to handle a tough opponent.”
“I’m not going!”
Gu Santong snorted, “I’ve only promised to defend the imperial family. There’s nothing in it related to putting me to work. Do it yourself!”
The guard begged again, “Sir, His Majesty is requesting you in person. This man is an exceptional expert. How could anyone match him? Moreover, His Majesty promises to improve your meals.”
“Improve? By how much?” Gu Santong raised an eyebrow.
The guard picked up three fingers, “3rd grade ingredient every day, with 4th grade on holidays.”
Gu Santong’s eyes spun and then he shook his head, “4th grade everyday and 5th grade on holidays. No, make that 6th grade!”
“It’s a deal!” The guard let out a carefree nod.
The promise was still within His Majesty’s limits. [I need to get this young master out of here fast.]
Gu Santong hopped around in joy. He’d finally sleep with a full belly from now on, “Oh, and who’s the one you’re after? You’ve never asked me to act before.”
“Ha-ha-ha, His Majesty will tell you when the moment comes. We are just guards transmitting his orders. We cannot fathom His Majesty’s mind. “
Gu Santong didn’t care. As long as he had his fill, he’d capture anyone…
Back at the feast, the emperor had just declared a marriage bringing joy to the kneeling Yongning. Next to her was Yuwen Yong on his knees as well.
Though he was a nervous wreck.
Just before this exchange, he had seen Zhuo Fan and Yun Shuang being all lovey-dovey and now he had asked the imperial father for her hand. He was out to steal another person’s girl. It wouldn’t make a difference to your average citizen, but that right there was the Best Steward Beneath Heavens!
Zhuo Fan’s rage was still very much ingrained in his mind, back when the guy flattened his home.
Of course he’d be trembling. But a sneak peek at Hell Valley’s side, catching the nod of a figure, he relaxed.
[I just hope it’ll go like he said and Zhuo Fan won’t put my princely head on a pike…]
Luo Yunchang was testy, not over Yun Shuang, but while glaring at Yongning. She has had her eyes on the heart-throb Zhuo Fan for years, yet this broad was just gonna take him from her? She wouldn’t have it!
Zhuo Fan finally spoke.
He did a full salute, but his tone was icy, “Please withdraw your edict. I and miss Shuang’er are perfect for each other long since we’ve gotten together. It wouldn’t be right for us to marry another!”
Everyone was slack jawed. They guessed the two had been on good terms, knowing each other well after only a month, but how did they get entangled to such a degree so fast?
Luo Yunchang was puzzled. The two had only displayed their affection today. When did they get to do the horizontal mambo? And how come she didn’t know?
Yun Shuang froze, her eyes red and confused, [What is he up to?]
Yongning shot to her feet, refuting those claims, “I and Shuang’er are practically sisters and I’ve also been by the Prosperity Compound many times. I would’ve realized in an instant if anything was up.”
Zhuo Fan grinned at her hotheadedness, “Of course you’d realized, and so did everyone else in the Luo clan. Don’t you remember the night you’d invited me to celebrate, that woman perhaps?”
Shuddering, everyone turned to the young frail Yun Shuang, who was flushing harder than a tomato with tears in her eyes.
She was a sensible girl and couldn’t endure having her mortifying moment to be out in the open.
Zhuo Fan had other things on his mind besides the trifling things like shame. He grabbed Yun Shuang’s hand and sneered, “That was Shuang’er! Everyone in Luo clan can attest since I was doing my business when they burst in!”
“Uh, that does seem to be the case.” Luo Yunhai nodded.
He was clueless towards Zhuo Fan’s aim in exposing such a degrading affair, but he figured it will all lead somewhere. Four Scheming Demons were jumping and hooting in confirmation as well.
Zhuo Fan and Yun Shuang were an item. There were no two ways about it!
Yongning and Luo Yunchang glared daggers at Yun Shuang. Defend the guy all you’d like but it was hard to find the traitor in one’s midst.
[What a good sister, stealing my man from right under my nose!]
Yun Shuang looked devastated with her head low. Pointed out by all husbands what a chippy she was. All those stares were making her sick.
The emperor watched it all with a cold dragon’s eye, his fingers drumming on the table. With a deep breath, his boundless majestic voice came, “Are you done? The wedding is tomorrow!”
Zhuo Fan raised an eyebrow and laughed, “Your Majesty, if I don’t feel like it, there’s no one in the world that can make me!”
The emperor flew off the handle, “Insolent! I am the ruler here, the emperor! My decree is final. Zhuo Fan, you dare question my authority?”
All eyes watched in shock, their hearts drumming in their chests.
[What’s up with His Majesty? That is the Best Steward Beneath Heavens you honored yourself. Marriage is such a trifle so why make such a big fuss and fly into a rage? ]
[Something isn’t right about this. It’s not just about fighting an edict.]
The old foxes noticed discrepancies.
Zhuge Changfeng and Leng Wuchang knew even more, showing endless calm. [The emperor has had enough. He’s about to act!]
“Imperial father, please calm down. I… I and Shuang’er are sisters. Even if we have the same husband, it’ll be fine. Second brother doesn’t fit Shuang’er anyway. Place take your edict back and don’t take your anger out on them.”
Yongning feared the emperor would do something to the couple in his rage.
The emperor wouldn’t have it, “Silence! I have had enough of Zhuo Fan’s vile morals. Seriously wounding the delegation, destroying a prince’s home, undermining my authority, in contempt of court, brash, arrogant and violent. On such a blessed day, I wanted to make him my son-in-law, yet he refuses my edict. A criminal such as he is a plague on this land…”
In his rage, the emperor dumped one crime after another on Zhuo Fan’s head. He had so many piled up that even a hundred deaths would be too light a punishment.
Zhuo Fan, Leng Wuchang and Zhuge Changfeng were the calmest, having seen it all come. If one wanted someone dead, he’d just find the pretext to do it.
[The emperor can lift you, can sanctify you, but can also bury you, demonize you. It’s all at the emperor’s whim.]
[If he wants you hanged, he’d find some excuse, don’t you worry.]
Funny how it matched perfectly with Zhuo Fan, who had always called himself a demon. Finding faults couldn’t be easier.
While the blunt Quanrong looked on stumped.
[I say, why let him live if he’s a criminal on death row? Shouldn’t you be over and done with this demon the moment you found him?]
Zhuo Fan sneered, “Your Majesty does not seem to hold me in any regard. Staying here is pointless, let’s go!”
Zhuo Fan left with the Luo clan.
The emperor slammed the table, “Humph, Zhuo Fan, you think so highly of yourself, showing contempt to me? You won’t run away that easily!”
“Oh? Who, I wonder, in whole Tianyu has the power to stop me?” Zhuo Fan mocked.
Though everyone agreed inside. Zhuo Fan did have the power to back that claim.
The emperor squinted and his face twisted with malice, “There will always be someone better than you out there! Zhuo Fan, you are toxic. Seize him!”
With a bang, a red flash shot for Zhuo Fan, followed by a childish voice, “Old coot, don’t forget about the 6th-grade ingredient…”